10 Tips on Finding the Right SEO Firm

Posted by Mark Thompson - June 10, 2008 - SEO - 1 Comment

Shaking Hands

Choosing the right SEO company to work with can be challenging. You want to find a company who is ethical, easy to work with, has open communication, and can show you results.  There also are going to be responsibilities between the agency and the client that should be communicated.  Here is a good set of guidelines to go by when choosing the SEO vendor that is right for you.


Guaranteed Results
  • There are plenty of SEO companies that will start off by telling you that they will guarantee you a #1 ranking in Google. Anyone who says that is lying and misleading you, because what they are not telling you, is that the term will be a 5 word phrase that nobody searches. Nobody can guarantee rankings for competitive terms.
Setting Realistic Goals
  • Understand what you are getting yourself into. Your SEO vendor should have a very good understanding of what it will take to accomplish your goals. They should be very upfront with you and give you realistic expectations. The more competitive the industry, the harder it will be to rank.
  • If your goals are be #1 organically for competitive terms, know that a SEO company alone cannot make that happen. It requires both the client and the SEO company. If the SEO company says they can get you to the top all by themselves, they are lying.

Do Your Research

Google Them

  • Do they show up organically in the search results for keywords or phrases you would use to find them?
  • Do you see positive or negative comments about them?
  • Who have they worked with?

Google Their Clients

  • Do their clients show up organically for keywords or phrases you would use to find them?

Reputation & Experience

  • Ask some of your colleagues, family, or friends if they have ever done business with an SEO firm before.
  • Do not ever work with an SEO company that sends you spam.
  • I personally would not ask for references from the company, because no SEO company is going to give you references to someone that would say bad things about them.

Know who you will be working with

  • Sometimes you will meet with an SEO firm, have a great initial meeting, and trust the guy you met with. What you don’t know, is that once you sign the contract you will be working with someone who is fresh out of college, with no experience in the industry. Make sure you know beforehand who you will be working with, before you sign anything.
  • Talk to them about their policy on having monthly review meetings to go over your progress and reporting.

Staying Up-To-Date

  • Google is constantly changing and improving their algorithm. Make sure that your SEO company is staying on top of those changes, as well as the emerging technologies and market trends.

Look out for Blackhat SEO companies

  • Blackhat SEO is a big no-no in the SEO industry. There are certain tactics that you can implement to a website to help it rank better in the search results. Fortunately the search engines have gotten much better at identifying those tactics and will have a negative impact on your site or possible be banned.
  • If the SEO company talks about invisible text, keyword stuffing, cloaking links, duplicate sites/content, redirects, or doorway pages DO NOT USE THEM.

Tracking Results

  • Talk about having an analytics package implemented on your site to track and monitor your SEO efforts. Have a clear understanding of what metrics you will be tracking so you can measure your efforts.

Cheap or Expensive Rates

  • Remember, most times, you get what you pay for. If someone is charging you $50 a month for your SEO efforts, that means that they either do not know what they are doing or that you are only getting about 30-60 minutes of their time each month.
  • On the other hand if you are paying thousands of dollars a month, make sure you are getting detailed reporting of what they have been doing to your account. You may be wasting money on a firm who is only putting in 1-2 hours a month.

The Contract

  • Make sure you take the time to read the fine print on your contract, the last thing you want to do is sign a contract without knowing the details.
  • Ask the SEO company who owns the rights to the work if the contract is broke or once a contract has been completed. You should own the rights to that work regardless of if the contract has been fulfilled or not. Some SEO firms will try to charge you a “release” charge to give you the work they have completed.


About the Author

Mark Thompson

Mark is the creator of StayOnSearch and president of Search Creatively, a full-service Internet Marketing Company located in Raleigh, North Carolina. He also contributes to many industry related blogs including Search Engine Journal and is active on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Mark on Twitter